It Has Been 26 Days Since the Recycling in Bayou St. John Has Been Picked Up

Photo Credit: Charlie Marcotte

Everyone knows that Metro Disposal is trash. 

This was made clear last year when they fired all of their employees who went on strike to protest the company’s low pay and unsafe working conditions, replacing them with incarcerated workers. The incarcerated workers, who they dubbed “transitional labor” were paid $1.33 an hour, were subjected to the same unsafe working conditions and were unable to protest or they risked being sent back to prison. 

The highly problematic company, which is paid $10.7 million annually, and $13.60 per month by residents, recently showcased its ineptitude through neglecting to do what it’s paid to do: pick up recycling. 

It’s has been almost 4 weeks, a total of 26 days, since the recycling has been picked up in parts of Bayou St. John. 

Bayou St. John resident Charlie Marcotte explained, “My landlords pay for trash as part of the S&WB bill each month and are furious about it! We thought first it was due to the construction in our neighborhood and then learned that they were blowing off residents in other parts of the neighborhood.” 

Due to how long it has been, residents have had to deal with their recyclable goods in ways that are less than ideal. Marcotte commented, “I’m just throwing it in the trash” because his recycling bin reached maximum capacity weeks ago. 

To address the problem, he filed 311 reports but they “automatically came back as “assigned to contractor.” It didn’t even seem like anything came out of the 311 reports.” Marcotte reached out to his New Orleans City Council representative Joe Giarrusso, whose Director of Special Projects, Nina Killeen, responded that “This seems to be a widespread issue. We are looking into it.” 

In a 2018 press release, Giarusso stressed how important recycling is for New Orleans explaining, “Recycling saves the city money. Since 2010, the City has saved more than $1.79 million in landfill tipping fees from materials recycled curbside and at it’s Recycling Drop-Off events.”

Metro disposal has hurt New Orleanians financially, has reduced residents’ quality of life, and has been environmentally neglectful. Because of this, Marcotte, like many other New Orleans residents, has reached the end of his rope when it comes to Metro Disposal. “This serves as evidence to me that Metro Disposal does not care about the community it claims to serve. They are reneging on their contractual obligations, which certainly also saves them money. But if a storm comes and all the trash washes away, whose responsibility will it be when the debris blocks storm drains causes flooding?” 

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